HC Deb 23 June 1937 vol 325 cc1184-6
36. Mr. R. Acland

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether it was a Royal Air Force machine that flew over Westminster at 12.30 a.m. on the morning of Friday last; if so, for what reason it was necessary to disturb residents by practising aerobatics at that hour; and, in any event, whether he can take steps to see that the occurrence is not repeated?

41. Mr. Batey

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that, on 17th–18th June after midnight, there was an almost continuous roar of engines from aeroplanes flying over Central London; and will he state the reason for so much flying after midnight?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

It has been ascertained that no Royal Air Force aircraft was over Central London on the night in question, and I regret that, although careful inquiries have been made, it has not been found possible to identify the aircraft in question.

Mr. Batey

If this aeroplane did not belong to the Royal Air Force, to whom would it belong?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

We have found it impossible to identify, the aircraft, and I should not like to speculate as to its identity.

Mr. Acland

Does this mean that the public are without protection against this kind of bad manners?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

No. There are regulations against dangerous flying over urban areas, and the normal process of law can be applied in cases where undue risk is taken.

Mr. A. Henderson

Is it permissible to fly over the Metropolis without leave?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

Provided civil aircraft do not fly in a dangerous manner, there is no objection. In the case of military aircraft of foreign origin it could be done only after receiving permission from this Government, but we have absolutely no reason to believe that this aeroplane was a foreign aircraft of that character. Otherwise, provided they fly safely, there are no restrictions.

Mr. Batey

Is the Under-Secretary not prepared to issue an order that no aircraft belonging to the Royal Air Force shall fly over Central London after midnight? Is he aware that this House made it illegal for motor car horns to be sounded after 11.30, so that people should not be disturbed, and is not the noise from these aeroplanes immensely worse than the noise from cars?

Mr. Lansbury

Will the Under-Secretary also remember East London? No end of aeroplanes are flying over there at all hours of the night?

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Is General Franco suspected in this matter?